Obesity has become a global epidemic, so the opening of slimming centres around the country is no suprise. In many large cities, there are no less than 30 laser lipo clinics, promising to offer “instant inch loss”!!!
These clinics promote fat reduction and weight loss, apparently without exercise or the need for surgery. But is this just too good to be true?
Emma Idowu of Medispa S10, who provide laser liposuction in Sheffield says that this is certainly not the case.
“Science and technology have now made it possible to physically lose inches without the need for invasive surgery”.
Here we look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of these techniques and what to look out for.
Liposuction with Aspiration (Traditional liposuction)
Until the last few years, body contouring and fat removal has been performed by an invasive surgical procedure called liposuction.
This is a very effective treatment for a person with fair to good skin tone who wishes to remove fat, and is ideal for those who are in good shape generally but have stubborn areas of fat. It is also effective in removing larger volumes of fat.
The procedure is performed under a general or local anaesthetic and has a recovery period which involves swelling, bruising and time off work to recuperate. There are sometimes complications involved with anaesthesia along with infection risk, yet many people are very happy with the result.
This is not a treatment for those hoping to reduce the appearance of cellulite, as this type of liposuction can often make the appearance of cellulite worse. Nonetheless, there are still thousands of people who undergo this treatment each year.
This technique is a non surgical option which involves freezing the fat to a temperature whereby the fat cells in that area are encouraged to die. The cryolipolysis machine sucks the fat in a particular area, eg lower abdomen) into a device for a period of around 45 minutes and the fat is then transported by the lymphatic system and excreted.
The result is seen in around 12 weeks and there are some reports showing a decrease in fat on the flank area of up to 22 percent. This treatment can be uncomfortable and the results can take some time to show which can be demoralising for the client.
Large scale studies have not yet been conducted on other areas of the body but the results so far certainly look promising.
Low level laser (Laser lipolysis or ‘laserlipo’)
This is a popular technique which seems to be advertised by many beauty salons and clinics around the country. A laser creates a ‘hole’ in the fat cell, causing it to deflate but not to die.
The fat is then carried away by the lymphatic system and excreted. The results are varied, some people experience good inch loss but other experience none. It is important to exercise within a few hours of treatment and eat a healthy, low carbohydrate diet for the duration of the course of treatment.
The exercise helps to increase lymphatic drainage and is a prerequisite when undergoing this type of treatment.
With this technology, ultrasound waves target the fat layer, whilst sound waves induce the fat cells to heat and die off. Since ultrasound cavitation targets only fat, no surrounding tissues are damaged and the fat cells are excreted naturally by the lymphatic system.
Unless combined with another technology such as radiofrequency, exercise is encouraged afterwards as the fat has to be transported through the lymphatic system and excreted. The benefit of ultrasound is that the fat cell is actually destroyed.
This method of fat loss has been FDA approved and the side effects are mild redness which quickly settles.
Radiofrequency is a painless technology providing deep heating of the targeted fat, whilst simultaneously increasing the synthesis of collagen, tightening tissue and improving skin tone. Radiofrequency increases blood circulation which improves the appearance of cellulite and helps with lymphatic drainage.
Radiofrequency had been studied worldwide and been FDA approved for over 10 years. It is now a proven treatment for cellulite reduction, inch loss and skin tightening.
Combination ultrasound and radio frequency
As more research is being carried out, combination technologies seem to be very much the way ahead for body contouring and weight loss. People who are unsuitable for traditional liposuction methods due to loose and sagging skin, now have an option to remove fat whilst tightening their skin at the same time.
As previously mentioned, ultrasound and radiofrequency are the most studied technologies for inch loss, cellulite reduction and skin tightening. It is no surprise then that new technology would incorporate both modalities and an example of this is the FDA approved Accent Ultra machine by Alma lasers which gets significantly better results than the single modality systems.
A pain free technology, this machine also encourages lymphatic drainage which eliminates the need for exercise post treatment. The side effect is some mild redness which settles quickly, otherwise this is a risk free treatment.